Rep. Sewell, Speaker Pelosi, Members of Congress Visit Ghana and U.S. Army Africa Headquarters
August 1, 2019
Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07), Chair of the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Defense and Warfighter Support, returned from a congressional delegation led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to Ghana to hold high-level discussions with Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, Ghanaian Speaker Mike Oquaye and other senior government officials and visit U.S. Army Africa headquarters in Italy. The historic trip marked the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans landing in America.
“The delegation’s trip to Ghana was deeply informative, humbling and transformative. Returning to our ancestral home with civil rights hero Congressman John Lewis was an emotional experience that I will never forget,” Sewell said. “So much American progress was built upon the backs of enslaved Africans brought to America 400 years ago. While the United States has come a long way, there is still much work to be done to heal and reconcile the traumas of our past. Visiting the ‘Door of No Return,’ where millions of Africans were ripped from their families and homes to sustain an inhumane and cruel practice, reinvigorated my commitment to confronting injustice wherever it exists – at home and around the world.”
“Before our visit to Ghana, the delegation met with U.S. Army Major General Roger Cloutier and top military commanders at U.S. Army Africa Command to discuss the challenges facing African nations – and that threaten the safety and security of citizens around the globe – and how U.S. Forces are working with leaders on the continent to address these challenges,” Sewell continued. “Overall, our visit to Ghana underscored the strength of U.S.-global partnerships and the importance of maintaining them in the future.”
Earlier this week, the Members paid respects at Cape Coast and Elmina Castles and the “Door of No Return,” a monument commemorating the transatlantic slave trade, to observe the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans landing in America. The delegation laid wreaths at both dungeons in remembrance of the millions who lost their lives and freedom in the transatlantic slave trade.
At Elmina Castle, Paramount Chief Nana Kwadwo Conduah VI welcomed the delegation back to Africa in a traditional ceremony. Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass offered the “amanee,” the delegation’s statement of purpose: to observe the longstanding bilateral relations between Ghana and the U.S. and honor the millions of Africans sent through the middle passage and later enslaved throughout the Americas after arriving in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619.
On Tuesday, Cape Coast Paramount Chief Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II welcomed the delegation to Emintsimadze Palace and Obama Hall. Legendary civil rights leader and Troy, Alabama native Rep. John Lewis offered the amanee. Rep. Lewis shared the moving story of the impact of Ghana’s quest for independence and democracy on the civil rights movement in the United States.
Photos of Sewell’s trip are available here.